Letting go

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Letting go

Postby Behslayer » September 19th, 2015, 7:20 pm

A few days ago I was diving 100miles offshore on my brother's boat. We had fished the area during the night chunking for Tuna and I had seen a Wahoo come into the lights and we had caught a few small yellowfin under 20lbs which we released. The fishing was not so good but in the morning we decided to dive the place as there was plenty of bait on the surface with small skipjack tuna and bonito breaking surface. My two dive partners were both very experienced good deeper divers. One of them is a Performance Freediving instructor in Hawaii who is comfortable hunting below 100', the other is my long time dive buddy from Indonesia who is one of the best divers I know. So I figured I'd let them focus on the deep for Tuna and I'd focus on the upper water column for Wahoo and Mahi Mahi. The water was Clear. 100' vis and we were in a line about 75' away from each other drifting. They were both using Floatlines and Tuna Floats. I was using my Bluewater Reel with 330' of line on it I was in the middle. I'm comfortable enough to hunt for Wahoo with just a Reel, especially with two buddies with Floats next to me as Wahoo almost always make arcing runs which are long but not deep. I've shot many wahoo and never used a float. I've been spooled, but I was always able to angle up and stay on the surface and swim with the fish. Myself and my buddies have also landed many Yellowfin Tuna up to 80lbs using the Reels. So I'm focussing on the top 50' of the Water Column. I've got a good bit of Chum going and conditions look right. I make a drop and as I get to 50' I'm hanging for a while, about to head up and I see something below me. I drop another 10' and a Shoal of Big YFT comes right up to me. These fish are thick. All of them over 100lbs. I look for the smaller one and I look at my reel and I think for a second and then I focus on a Kill Shot. I let loose a nice shot. Right up by the back of the head looks good. The fish is not Stoned, and as it turns and shakes I see my tip Toggled on the other side of the fish. I look up. I have 60'. I look at my reel and that fish takes off. At 40' my reel is half full. I'm trying to slow the fish down, holding onto the line and giving resistance as I swim up. At 30' I get to the knot and things go into slow motion. I'm being pulled back down. I give a big tug to see if I can budge this fish. I can't. I grab my knife with my right hand. I'm holding the Gun by the handle with my left hand and it's facing down and I run the knife over the line on the Gunstock cutting into the wood. It's a serrated edge and it's fairly sharp, newer knife, but I only get through half of the line because of the awkward angle. I'm getting pulled straight down. I attempt another slash at the line waiting for the pop of the line separating from the fish. I look to see a few strands of the Dyneema still uncut and I'm still going down. I'm also fighting being pulled. I have the knife in my hand about to make another slash and everything goes into slower motion. "Let Go" is something I've always said to myself in thinking about this situation. Just like I say "Don't use the front brake" when I'm thinking about Motorcycle mantras. In that moment I could have tried one more slash at the line. Instead I was okay to let go of the gun. I looked up and it was far. 70'.. I unbuckled my belt holding the edge with two fingers and got to the surface as quickly as possible. As I hit the surface I was not feeling good at all. I had spotted my buddy Ben and he knew something was up. I yelled "Help" and it barely came out. Both he and my other dive partner Dave were there within seconds and held me up for a while as I recovered. I'm not sharing this story to be judged. I killed a beautiful fish and lost a nice gun I made with my hands and almost drowned. It was a poor decision to go in the water where I could possibly encounter bigger Tuna with just a Reel, no Belt reel, No float, or to choose to take the Shot on a Fat Tuna when it presented itself. But the one right decision I made is what I wanted to share. Letting go. Right now. I don't care at all about that gun. I'll make another. I feel badly, but I don't really care about that fish dying. It all happens real fast underwater. It can happen in many ways. Learn one thing from this. Be willing to Let Go and don't wait too long. We got back to diving an hour or so later. I didn't push it at all and shared a gun with my buddy one up one down. He shot a Nice YFT which we served at his wedding the next day.
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Re: Letting go

Postby Alex Ray » September 19th, 2015, 9:19 pm

Thank you for sharing your story, and glad to hear you're alright
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Re: Letting go

Postby Donzi Paul » September 19th, 2015, 9:40 pm

Thank you so much for this Jon. I'm really happy your still with us buddy. I know sometimes cutting line or cable is a lot harder under stress than when we just practice it on dry land. Sharks need to eat too, I'm not sorry about your gun as much as happy with your decision to let her go. God Bless.

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Re: Letting go

Postby BeauG » September 19th, 2015, 10:51 pm

That's heavy Jon, glad to hear that you made the right choice and have good friends that have your back.
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Re: Letting go

Postby Schwaman » September 19th, 2015, 11:08 pm

Puhhh, tough story! Glad you let go.
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Re: Letting go

Postby Namor » September 20th, 2015, 2:43 am

Thanks for posting your story. Food for thought for sure

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Re: Letting go

Postby Jon Reed » September 20th, 2015, 7:32 am

That was an intense read. Thanks for sharing your experience. I think it's good for people to be reminded of the dangers of the sport. If someone has it in the back of there mind, they'll probably be more likely to make the smartest decision. Glad you are ok.
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Re: Letting go

Postby rosstnfound » September 20th, 2015, 8:10 am

Wow. Intense is right! Glad you made the right decision. I will that read again and again.
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Re: Letting go

Postby Hookin » September 20th, 2015, 11:10 am

Wow. Glad things turned out ok and your here telling us this story.
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Re: Letting go

Postby Bill McIntyre » September 20th, 2015, 12:16 pm

Scary story indeed. I hope it will make us just a tad quicker at letting go if we ever face that situation.

Edit- I meant make us quicker to let go than WE otherwise would have been, not quicker than you were.
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Re: Letting go

Postby Highliner » September 20th, 2015, 6:14 pm

Been there, done that and equally glad you made the decision you did.
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Re: Letting go

Postby Greenbean88 » September 21st, 2015, 1:33 am

Thanks for the Honest break down of your situation Jon. I dive with a high capacity reel like yours and I have been thinking a lot lately about what I would do if one of these monster tuna, marlin, wahoo was to come in and check me out. This will give me a lot to consider before I pull the trigger. Glad your safe and you guys got another fish on the boat.
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Re: Letting go

Postby Behslayer » September 22nd, 2015, 6:59 am

My buddy Rob Navratil visited the shop yesterday and shared this video clip with me. Just a reminder of how one unexpected risk can lead to another. In this case he was thrown off by getting his glove caught in the Tuna Clip and then was a little bit disheveled on surfacing. And within an instant... he could have been headed right back down. Please avert your eyes at the sight of any fish in this clip.

https://vimeo.com/140008820
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Re: Letting go

Postby John Hughes » September 22nd, 2015, 6:04 pm

Thanks for sharing your story John. Sharing our mistakes is not done enough around this community due to ego IMO. I'm surprised at the amount of good moves you made through that harrowing experience. It's amazing how much can go down in a few short seconds.

I'm also certainly glad you are OK. Obviously, you made the right choice! Thanks again.
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Re: Letting go

Postby malibujohn » September 22nd, 2015, 6:32 pm

Damn John, That was a harrowing lil read! :eek: First and Only time I used a reel, had the line jam in the side of the spool and had a knarly tug-a-war with a nice yellowtail. Shaft finally ripped out, seconds before "letting go". Was able to save my setup, but I was only 25-30 feet and that was bad enough getting to the surface. Damn, 70 feet-and spent, not a good place to be. glad you are o.k!! Thanx for sharing your story.
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Re: Letting go

Postby Explora » September 29th, 2015, 3:13 pm

Thanks for sharing the story. When things go bad, it can happen FAST! I agree with John H that we don't share enough of the scary stories to help keep us all safe. Better to get smart by reading than to experience all the possible bad outcomes first hand. Glad you are OK. Gear can always be replaced.
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Re: Letting go

Postby dam » September 29th, 2015, 3:24 pm

Damn, Jon. Glad you made the right decision. Guys with big egos like me find it so hard to do it sometimes. Earlier this year I had a reel jammed on me at 20-30ft down. It took longer than I'd like to admit before I decided to let go. In this ocean, the odds are already stacked against you, don't play with it.
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Re: Letting go

Postby Bill McIntyre » September 29th, 2015, 4:19 pm

Dam,

While we're talking safety, you really should carry a knife. When you need to cut out a fish you can continue to borrow one of ours, but if you got tangled in a line being pulled by a big fish there would be no time for that.
Last edited by Bill McIntyre on September 29th, 2015, 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Letting go

Postby Behslayer » September 29th, 2015, 5:13 pm

I used to put a lot of faith in my knife. Just grab my knife and everything will be okay. But you need to take the thought process a step further. Grab your knife and then how are you going to make the cut. Because you only get 1 or maybe two chances when things are going south. I took out my knife and made two good slashes accross my Dyneema line with my gunstock as a cutting board. Left two nice slashes in my gun but only two half cuts in the Dyneema. My second slash was in a different spot on the line so it was essentially another fresh cut. But slashing at a downward angle with a Serrated knife had bad result. It's one of those things that is worth thinking through. Take out your knife and try to cut some mono or dyneema. Try it without using your weight as if you were in water. try it with your other hand.. not very impressive huh? You just lost 5 seconds.. and you are 15ft deeper. If I had practiced this move before I would probably have been successful at cutting the line. Atleast I would have had a better suited knife.
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Re: Letting go

Postby dam » September 29th, 2015, 7:32 pm

Bill McIntyre wrote:Dam,

While we're talking safety, you really should carry a knife. When you need to cut out a fish you can continue to borrow one of ours, but if you got tangled in a line being pulled by a big fish there would be no time for that.

You're right, Bill. I'll start carrying a knife.
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Re: Letting go

Postby Bill McIntyre » September 29th, 2015, 7:45 pm

dam wrote:
Bill McIntyre wrote:Dam,

While we're talking safety, you really should carry a knife. When you need to cut out a fish you can continue to borrow one of ours, but if you got tangled in a line being pulled by a big fish there would be no time for that.

You're right, Bill. I'll start carrying a knife.


Good! Please do.

I know it was shitty of me to call you out on this, but I'm worried about you.

And to be honest, I'm more worried about me. Think how hard it would be for you to call Nancy and tell her I wasn't coming home. It would be just as hard for me to call your mother or your boyfriend, and I wouldn't know which one to call first.

As you know, I've been there and done that. Picking up that phone was by far the hardest thing I've ever done. I don't want to do it again.
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Re: Letting go

Postby chris oak » September 29th, 2015, 8:24 pm

Jon I don't know how I missed this thread, dang that was a close call. I'm glad you posted it because it's a great lesson to everyone. I don't know how many times I've told guys that a billion things can happen when we dive, hearing it from someone with a lot of experience is always a wake up call.

Jeez Dam you still don't have a knife?
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Re: Letting go

Postby Donzi Paul » September 29th, 2015, 9:25 pm

Come on Dam, that's not even funny....get a knife. :confusion-shrug:

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Re: Letting go

Postby GreasyGar » September 30th, 2015, 8:48 am

Damn. Thanks for sharing Jon. We have had a few scares over the years diving the rigs where we can't really use floatlines. Before the first dive we ALWAYS discuss just letting go. Gear is replaceable. A good friend is not. I can not imagine having to make that phone call, and wouldnt wish that on anyone.
Like a few have mentioned, our sport is dangerous enough. No need to try to be a hero and muscle a fish up with a locked up reel. Jon brings up a GREAT point about knives as well. TEST YOUR KNIVES!! Cut your shooting line with it wrapped around something and pulled tight. Cut your shooting line with your non-dominant hand.
Personally, I have a backup knife or line cutter any time I get in the water. Diving without a knife is not an option. That's a recipe for disaster and not an if, but a when you'll NEED a knife kind of thing. My primary blade is a fully serrated spyderco dive knife. It cuts through my cable shooting line when pulled tight with one firm swipe. You WILL NOT have a free hand to use to cut your shooting line.
Great post Jon. You did the right thing. We have let go of 3 guns in 15 or so years. All 3 were bigger cobia hit with a bad shot. I'm sure we will drop a few more. Part of diving.
We live to dive another day. Dive safe guys. Really eye opening thread Jon..thank you.

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Re: Letting go

Postby Spearing Magazine » September 30th, 2015, 12:42 pm

First, I'm glad you're ok. That sounded sketchy.

Second, I really appreciate you posting it. Its not very often you read a post that is honest and discusses a mistake in order to educate others. :obscene-drinkingcheers:
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Re: Letting go

Postby Donzi Paul » September 30th, 2015, 7:22 pm

GreasyGar wrote:Damn. My primary blade is a fully serrated spyderco dive knife. It cuts through my cable shooting line when pulled tight with one firm swipe.

-Trey Landry


Hey Trey, what mod Spyderco are you diving?
Thanks.


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Re: Letting go

Postby John Hughes » September 30th, 2015, 7:54 pm

Donzi Paul wrote:
GreasyGar wrote:Damn. My primary blade is a fully serrated spyderco dive knife. It cuts through my cable shooting line when pulled tight with one firm swipe.

-Trey Landry


Hey Trey, what mod Spyderco are you diving?
Thanks.


Cheers. Don


I'd be interested in that as well. Spydercos are the best out there IMO and pretty much all we use when doing commercial diving work on Capt Ron's jobs.
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Re: Letting go

Postby SeaWolf » October 19th, 2015, 4:17 pm

Thanks for sharing Jon, humbling story. Am I correct in that I've heard other divers talk about shooting a bigger fish like this towards the tail to lessen the amount of power and control it has in diving?

Also here's a Spyderco, I've come across many times online while doing research, that was brought back into production because it was requested for years, Aquasalt, supposedly rust proof and very very sharp. http://www.knifecenter.com/item/SPFB23PBBK/spyderco-fb23pbbk-aqua-salt-fixed-h1-black-plain-blade-frn-handles-polymer-sheath That's the non serrated, they make a serrated as well.
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Re: Letting go

Postby Behslayer » October 19th, 2015, 6:24 pm

There s something to be said for it. I think I remember Cameron K saying he would try to shoot Doggies in the Mid Tail to keep them from swimming strongly. My South African friend was saying they try to shoot the big Yellowfin in the Lower section behind the Guts cavity so the fish is forced to swim upside down. I don't have so much luck Stoning Tuna. In this instance. The shoal arced up towards me and I had a good shot @ 20' on one and I thought...... MJK. I'm going to stone the fish. And I hit it good. Just where I was aiming just behind the head. However, the fish took off straight down immediately.

In retrospect. I probably would have landed the fish if I had gone for a Center Spine Shot.
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Re: Letting go

Postby SeaWolf » October 19th, 2015, 8:10 pm

Behslayer wrote:There s something to be said for it. I think I remember Cameron K saying he would try to shoot Doggies in the Mid Tail to keep them from swimming strongly. My South African friend was saying they try to shoot the big Yellowfin in the Lower section behind the Guts cavity so the fish is forced to swim upside down. I don't have so much luck Stoning Tuna. In this instance. The shoal arced up towards me and I had a good shot @ 20' on one and I thought...... MJK. I'm going to stone the fish. And I hit it good. Just where I was aiming just behind the head. However, the fish took off straight down immediately.

In retrospect. I probably would have landed the fish if I had gone for a Center Spine Shot.

Good to know. Thanks for explaining further Jon.
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Re: Letting go

Postby Captn Ron » January 14th, 2016, 6:54 pm

Thanks for the story Jon. It helps to think about all of this beforehand, then it is a lot easier to let go. Same goes for weight belts. Most of us don't want to release them. I have seen people nearly drown and still not let the damn things go.

Well done with the experience and sharing with us. May save someone's ass one day.
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Re: Letting go

Postby 'o cino » January 15th, 2016, 7:36 am

Great share Jon! Many thoughtful points to seriously mull over.
An analogy in climbing is leaving gear at emergency rap stations. I've seen guys in the dark try to rationalize the nut and sling will be good enough to get down another 165', with another 500' left to go. No piece of gear is more expensive than your life or hospital bills.
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Re: Letting go

Postby 'o cino » January 15th, 2016, 7:45 am

Captn Ron wrote:Same goes for weight belts. Most of us don't want to release them. I have seen people nearly drown and still not let the damn things go.


Rescued a guy in Sonoma who lost his ab float, and couldn't stay on the surface. He had 25+ pounds of lead on and would've drowned. Swimming him towards the shallows for some footing, I started to drop his belt, and he yelled "back off man!". I did, and he sank immediately. I grabbed him again, and said "drop the belt", he refused, and I got him to where his feet touched, and left...no thanks on that one.

I saved his life, and he saved his belt.
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Re: Letting go

Postby Behslayer » August 31st, 2017, 9:08 am

Tears for this big Brother Mario. So Sorry for the loss of your brother Nico.

Damn it. Just Let go.
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Re: Letting go

Postby Red Tide » August 31st, 2017, 5:21 pm

Jon, You did everything right but maybe stayed in the game 10 seconds longer than I would have. Rule #1 if it does not cut after two swipes just let go. There is no shame in letting go. Don't try and figure it out......Just let go! A few years ago I spoke a free diving /spearfishing symposium. The audience was mostly younger teenage guys. Anyway, I talked about having a good knife, just letting go and unbuckling your weight belt and heading for the surface. You did all of these things and are here to tell the tale.
My personal rules about reels: Never hunt with a reel in water that is deeper than you can swim to the bottom. If you do always remember to let go the instant things go south. Never fight a pelagic fish on the way to the surface with a reel. The line can cut the shit out of your hands and if something goes wrong it goes wrong faster than most people can react. A reel is just a device to retrieve your line. Don't use it or expect it to do anything else. When you get spooled beneath the surface. Just let go!!! :obscene-drinkingcheers:
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Re: Letting go

Postby Behslayer » September 1st, 2017, 4:00 am

It's very important to have all of this fresh in your mind. Yesterday Nico Reich drowned Spearfishing around Nusa Penida Island off the coast of Bali. His dive partner said he saw Nico shoot a fish and then get pulled down out of view. He didn't surface. There was a moderate current. Immediately, his brother Mario, put on Scuba Gear and initiated a rescue search. He found Nico's Reel gun shaft out shooting line wrapped around a coral head with no fish attached in 120' of water. He did not find his brother. It was 5:30pm. This morning Nico's body was recovered 200mtrs away. Nico was a very experienced spearfisherman who grew up spearfishing in Indonesia. He was a Freediving instructor. He was a professional Spearfishing Guide. It's crushing. Mario and his brother were very close. Condolences to the Bali Crew.
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Re: Letting go

Postby Trace » November 4th, 2017, 7:41 am

This is a great post Jon, Glad you made the right decision in a situation gone bad so quickly.
Thank you for sharing.
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